Hatha Yoga Stretches

Hatha yoga stretches lead to a powerful, meditative mind-body connection.  This joining allows yoga students to transcend stress and cultivate healthy energy flow throughout the body.  For 3,000 years, people have been using hatha yoga asanas, or poses, to achieve a deeper level of self-consciousness and health. 

What is hatha yoga?

Perhaps the most popular and well-known school of yoga in Western nations, hatha yoga first began in India.  When most people think of yoga, this is the type they picture, as hatha yoga incorporates various poses and breathing exercises to achieve a peaceful, relaxed state of meditation. 

The word hatha comes from the root words “Ha,” meaning sun, and “Tha,” meaning moon.  These words were joined into one word to describe the yoga practice that unites and aligns opposing energy channels in the body.

 

What is meant by hatha yoga asanas?

The practice of hatha yoga consists of a series of different poses, called hatha yoga asanas, or hatha yoga stretches.  Each asana was originally devised to bring about a certain benefit to the body by aligning body parts, pressure points and nerves in the context of controlled, even breathing.   

In addition to the exercise benefit provided by hatha yoga stretches, each pose helps the student to reach a peaceful state.  As the pose becomes more comfortable and familiar, the student is free to meditate while holding the asana. The more poses the student can perform, the more opportunity for meditation. To further promote meditation and relaxation, hatha yoga encourages each student to perform the sequence of asanas at his or her own pace.

What are some common hatha yoga stretches?

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Mountain Pose (Tada-asana)

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Plow Pose (Hala-asana)

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Cobra Pose (Naga-asana)

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Downward Facing Dog Pose (Adho Mukha-svanasana)

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Upward Facing Dog Pose (Urdhva Mukha-svanasana)

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Hover Pose (Chataranga Dandasana)

What are the benefits of hatha yoga?

·   Improved function of body systems.  Much like reflexology and massage, the main principle of hatha yoga relies on the fact that all parts of the body are inter-connected to each other, and to the mind.  When certain points (e.g., pressure points or target nerves) on the body are stimulated through compression or massage, the various systems of the body are allowed to function optimally.

·   Increased alertness.  As hatha yoga stretches rely on physical movement and controlled breathing, the mind receives the benefit of quicker thought and sharpness of mind through due to elevated oxygen levels. 

·   Heightened levels of self-realization.  As students link the mind and body during the practice of hatha yoga asanas, they often achieve a deeper level of self-understanding and consciousness.  By uniting and aligning all the types of energy in the body, the self can function at a new level of attentiveness and awareness.

Who can benefit from hatha yoga?

One great thing about hatha yoga is that nearly everyone can become a student and gain from its many benefits.  Each of the hatha yoga stretches can be modified to varying degrees of difficulty, thus benefiting equally the highly fit person and the student who has health limitations.

Though the breathing and meditative aspects of yoga practice may be performed safely by anyone, the hatha yoga stretches are not advisable for menstruating or pregnant women, nor for children under 16 years of age.

Where can I find a good selection of yoga products?

One of the most well known names in yoga is Wai Lana Yoga.  In addition to having is the world's most-watched yoga television series, Wai Lana has an extensive selection of yoga products for students of all experience levels. Whether you are seeking to begin a healthier way of life through hatha yoga, or want to achieve a higher level of expertise in your existing yoga practice, Wai Lana Yoga has something for you!  Click on the link to find out more about this experienced and passionate yoga resource.

If you have any questions on the hatha yoga asanas, please email us.

 

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